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About Us / History

Railways

The Danish postal service was quick to exploit the innovation of sending post by train. The first Danish railway line between Altona and Kiel opened in 1844.

Posten provided special carriages with a supervising postman. ”Rolling post offices”, with on-board mail sorting, were introduced in 1856. The last rolling post office was use until 1997.

The first railway 1856

The first railway lines in Sweden opened in 1856. Mail in letterboxes was sent via these lines at an early stage, though the Swedish postal board remained more doubtful than their Danish counterpart about the benefits of rail transport, mainly due to the expense involved. But using Denmark as a model, “postman compartments” were introduced on the Stockholm - Gothenburg line.

The number of these compartments increased steadily through the 1910s and then began to decrease, due primarily to the closure of smaller railway lines and the transportation of post by road.

Today, the wind has shifted and once again favours railways. All Swedish second-class mail has been sent by rail since 2001, for reasons that include environmental considerations.

Inside the postal compartment (”Rolling post offices”), 1904.
Inside the postal compartment (”Rolling post offices”), 1904. Photo: Axel Malmström.

More about our history

Post farmers and mail carriers

Christian IV’s “Forordning om Post-Budde” (Mail Carrier Decree) was enacted in December 1624. Twelve years later the Swedish council of state approved the ”Förordning om Postbådhen” (Mail Carrier Ordinance). This was the beginning of formal postal services in both countries.

Cross border

Sweden established a permanent post office in Hamburg in 1620. Dutchman Leonard van Sorgen was assigned the task of arranging postal service from Sweden to Hamburg.

Stamps

Englishman Rowland Hill is usually credited with inventing flat-rate postage, which was introduced in 1840 and paved the way for the use of stamps.

By water

Initially, the many islands comprising the country of Denmark made it difficult to establish a reliable postal service to all areas. 

Automobiles

The New York Times reported in the summer of 1904 on a commission dispatched by the Danish government in Europe to investigate the usefulness of the automobile for short postal transports. 

By air

Sending mail by air is not particularly modern – the ancient Egyptians used carrier pigeons. The bird of peace was used for postal transport through the Second World War. 

New times

In this era of globalization, there is a growing need for cross-border communication and logistics. Regions rather than countries are important to doing business.